March 21st, 2010
01:56 PM ET
8 years ago

Democrats 'close to a deal' on abortion to win health care passage

 When asked how close he was to a deal, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, responded, 'Close.'

When asked how close he was to a deal, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, responded, 'Close.'

Washington (CNN) - In the final hours before a health care vote Sunday, a key Democratic holdout told CNN he was close to a deal with the White House that could help win passage of the legislation.

Later: Dems reach deal on abortion funding

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, part of a group of Democrats who oppose abortion, was nearing an agreement on language in an executive order that would address the issue.

"I'm still a no," he told CNN early Sunday afternoon. "There is no deal yet. It's a work in progress. Maybe we'll get there today."

He said he had met with White House lawyers Sunday.

When asked how close he was to a deal, Stupak responded, "Close."

Stupak told CNN that eight House Democrats met with White House officials including counsel Bob Bauer on Saturday night, but the two sides did not reach an agreement.

One of the lawmakers, who would not speak on the record because of the ongoing discussions, said the order would state that new provisions in the health care bill comply with long-standing law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

The lawmaker, who has opposed the health care bill, told CNN that he would vote for it if there is acceptable text in an executive order - and if the House agrees to look at the abortion issue further in the future.

Some lawmakers believe the text in the legislation is already adequate to restrict funding. But Stupak and several others complain it does not go far enough.

Stupak had requested that the House vote on language he wanted to add restricting taxpayer funding for abortion.

On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there will not be a separate vote. She was responding to a question about her meeting with Stupak.

A group of female Democrats who support abortion rights met with the speaker as well. Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-California, and Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, said Saturday there would be no deal on Stupak's request, adding that they would bolt from the bill if such language were tied to it.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn, Lesa Jansen, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Updated: 1:56 p.m.

Filed under: Abortion • Democrats • Health care • House • Obama administration • Popular Posts
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Tammy

    I'll wait till these guys get pregnant - then they can talk about birth control and abortion.

    March 21, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Anne Boyle

    Congressman Stupak cannot characterize himself as pro-life but only as anti-abortion. There are ample laws to prevent abortion. However, there is no law yet to provide insurance to the thousands who die because of little or no access to health care. Anti-abortionist turn their backs on those who could survive, if only, they had health care. Their actions are the similar to those who pull the plug on those who are near death.

    March 21, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    I'd like to know how men would feel if a deliberative body, made up mostly of women, determined what they could and could not do as far as their own bodies are concerned. We're constantly reminded that we really haven't come all that long of a way if we can be totally disgarded (read: thrown under the bus) at every turn. Frankly, it pisses me off. Why is Bart Stupak so concerned about my reproductive rights? Shouldn't he just be concerned about his? Same thing goes for Republicans. Who gave them the right to insert themselves into our doctors visits and bedrooms? It creeps me out.

    March 21, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. BillSendak

    Legal analysts have been near-unanimous that an executive order is not binding on this legislation, it needs to be voted on to become law. Looks like Stupak simply wanted a fig leaf.

    March 21, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    I thought that this country was founded on, among others, the principle of separation of church and state.

    March 21, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Why are our elected officials getting on tv and saying that even though all the polls show that a majority of the american people do not want this bill it is because they do not understand it. Why do they think they can get away with calling a majority of the American people stupid?

    March 21, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. johnrj08

    Please tell me that they're not making any concessions to this religious lunatic who would hold the health of millions of people for ransom in order to impose his beliefs on the country.

    March 21, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. johnrj08

    What Stupak wants is for all insurance companies who continue to offer coverage of election abortions to be excluded from the exchange, even on policies which are paid for out of the pockets of the policyholders. He knows full well that this will guarantee that none of them will continue to offer it because they will all want to participate in the exchange.

    Stupak's position is that anybody who accepts any kind of assistance from the federal government might use the money they save to pay for an elective abortion which they might not otherwise have gotten. So what he's asking for could even be applied to people who have student loans or government grants.

    Stupak is a lying, religious fanatic and theocrat who would impose his peculiar beliefs on the entire country.

    March 21, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |

    My fellow Americans, There is no Federal funding for an abortion.
    I repeat, this Health Care Bill does not support the an abortion.
    The Health Care Bill will cover more than 35 million American people who do not have a Health Care insurance.
    Under the Republican plan, there are only 3 million people will cover, but under the Democratic plan, there will be 35 Million Americans will insure the Health Care coverage.

    March 21, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. LoneWolf777

    If Stupak votes against this bill he will join the Republicans on the wrong side of history. What a legacy.

    March 21, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. A mom with a special needs child

    I had to have an abortion to save my life and so I could still be here to care for my liviing children. One is disabled and If I die, the state has to care for her to the tune of 50k a yr. The abortion was the better of the deal and a lot less money. I was on birth control and then I had to stop it because the dr thought that all methods had made me ill.

    If a man was in this situation he would think differently. Sadly we are now once again having women die in child birth and leaving dhildren motherless.

    March 21, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Jerry Gahan

    Would someone please explain to me what good a (health care) tax credit for low income families does? A family making less than $35,000 has no tax liability. So they receive absolutely no tax credit, it is redundant. On the contrary, they will now be fined if they don’t buy insurance.
    We have been betrayed, again.
    I’m going to buy stock in insurance companies.

    March 21, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Jim Marler

    This abortion issue is stupid. The people who are opposed to it wouldn't give one dime to these poor un-wanted children. If they are so concern why don't they adopt these poor children.

    It is such a joke as being a good Christian.

    March 21, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Debbie Mitchell

    I don't understand about the abortion issue of federal funding for this health care bill. According to my research, Planned Parenthood gets 1/3 of their funding from federal government grants. Aren't the taxpayers already paying for abortions? Everyone keeps reporting that the law of the land is that no federal money goes to fund abortions. Can anyone clear this up? Thanks.

    March 21, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Monster Zero

    Forget all the abortion rhetoric the economic impact to our Nation is where the true issues of this Bill lie, what a great deal for the 30 million deadbeats in America...

    What an economic burden for the rest of us, prepare America, the day of showing your true patriotism is coming...Obama and cronies plan is to destroy the Untied States economy in an effort to manipulate our Constitution, to shape a New World to what the liberal view of FAIR means, they want the language of our Constitution to evolve to what a liberal lawyer decides the meaning of IS means with regard to our freedoms and to the role the Federal Government plays in our lives. The answer is to putting the death blow to this insanity is in the 2010 elections and with a mouthful of unwanted healthcare crammed down our throats, all that is necessary is to vote your common sense. Do you trust these idiots to keep your freedoms?

    March 21, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Madness

    The lack of humanity in humans always amazes me. The trade-off
    between the "right " to kill your own child at government expense
    and health care for those that are living! An evil is upon this land that literally sucks the air out of my lungs.

    March 21, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Bob

    It's appalling that Stupak and others are blocking passage of landmark legislation that affects millions. Whether the bill passes or not, abortions are still legal and will be performed. All that they would succeed in doing is making it more difficult for poor women to get a procedure that wealthy women can do at any time... Oh yeah, and they'd succeed in blocking the goal that they claim to share: health care coverage for millions of currently uninsured people.

    March 21, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    We pay for health care and hospitals in Iraq and Afghan, why shouldn't every American have health care, it doesn't make sense. Ask your representatives to vote no to health care in other countries, it's only fair because you deserve an answer.

    March 21, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Sam

    Stupak needs to look at the big picture – you want to stop insurance abuses and have universal coverage or abortion is the overriding issue here. Passage is also important for the country and Democratic party. It will also strengthen the hands of Obama in foreign affairs.

    March 21, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. pamela55

    We are not stupid. Executive Orders have NO legal power to override Obama's new law – and won't reduce abortion funding by one penny.
    VOTE NO on HR 4872!

    March 21, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Brian from CA

    Federal money restrictions for abortions are ALREADY in place. Stop messing with overall reform for ONE SMALL portion of the entire bill. Stop letting YOUR beliefs affect everyone else.

    March 21, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Tony

    His last name should be Stupid, not Stupak. Because he's making a big deal over nothing. It's already law that federal funds are not used for abortion, a LEGAL procedure by the way. Hopefully he'll lost his seat in the next election and a real progressive will take over.

    March 21, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. joe magarzatz

    Remember the "Ratzinger footnote..."

    So long as one does NOT support legislation or an office holder BECAUSE of support for abortion, one may vote for this legislation or the office holder who may support it.

    March 21, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Lynn

    Why is it that more often than not it's men who oppose abortion and the right for women to control their own bodies. How about for every person who chants no abortions, sign up to adopt the child.

    March 21, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Weekend visitor here

    We the Independent voters have the votes in NOVEMBER! We will be
    keeping track of who tries to vote in the Health Care bill – and we will vote them OUT OF OFFICE.

    Vote NO and save your jobs!

    March 21, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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